People across the country are trying to make sense of last week's shooting by the police of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful rally.
On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, who is African-American, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge after police say they received an anonymous call about an unidentified man with a gun outside of a convenience store. Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two officers. The officers can be seen in a video, taken by a bystander, on top of Sterling before shots were fired. Both officers are white. Louisiana is an open carry state and police say Sterling had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say Sterling never reached for the gun during the encounter.
On Wednesday, Philando Castile, who is also African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. According to Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, Castile was reaching for his wallet and disclosed to the officer that he had a pistol on him he was licensed to carry. Reynolds says the officer then said, ‘don’t move' and as Castile was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm. Reynolds live streamed a video of the immediate aftermath for 10 minutes. When the video starts, you can see Castile in the driver seat, his shirt covered in blood, with the officer's gun still pointed at him.